Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 09 March 2019
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 MARCH 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Cypriot Australian teen is Ocean Youth Ambassador ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS & MARIA KAMPYLI There are a number of, often times, negative generalisations made about teenagers in the social media age, casting them as selfish and disengaged. But having the chance to speak with someone like Nicola Tsiolis proves that such generalisations should be taken with a grain of salt. Passionate about the preservation of the environment, the 17-year-old Catholic Ladies' College student was selected as an Ocean Youth Ambassador for 2019 last month. In this role, Nicola will be involved in marine conservation and animal care, through which she will gain a broader understanding of issues surrounding the environment, as well as collaboratively pursuing ideas for projects to ensure that our oceans will be supported and thrive well into the future. The impressive opportunity came about thanks to one of the Cypriot Australian's science teachers, who brought the application to her attention, having recognised her student's love of the ocean and ambitions in marine biology. Nicola is also the school's co-social justice and environment captain, a position she is grateful for, giving her the chance to be a representative of her fellow students, to give voice to their concerns regarding re- world society and our lack of empathy and love, not only for each other, but for the earth in which we thrive on, is what's wrong," she says. Nicola Tsiolis al-world issues and topics. "The other captain and myself are currently trying to bring about a great deal of positive environmental and social change in our school," she told Neos Kosmos. "Whether it be the smallest of things - adding more recycling bins around the place, or if it's raising awareness and funds for crucial foundations that our morals and school values align with. We strongly believe that if we are able to give someone a different perspective, that we are one step closer to changing the world." Nicola revealed that if she were to set out listing all of her environmental concerns, that it would "take me years". She puts the world's current predicament down to ignorance, and a lack of empathy. "What I do believe is that our ignorance as a whole "But just because something's wrong, doesn't mean we give up, and that's exactly what we are doing. Whether it be by dropping your rubbish on the ground, whether it be walking past it, or simply looking in the other direction; you have given up on what should be our main priority: the earth." But the 17-year-old isn't without hope. She says that education about climate change, and giving people an understanding of the true impact of pollution on each and every human on the planet, is key to positive change. That and taking personal responsibility. "[We need to] thoroughly research who and what exactly we are voting for when we do vote, for what exactly are we paying for when we purchase something from that shop; it's about doing your own part, working together to give our, and your children, a future," Nicola urges. "We need to stop talking and just take action." Nicola says that it doesn't have to be hard; just start small and "go reusable, not disposable". Aside from her personal ambitions of becoming a marine biologist (Tsiolis would also like to add film- If we don’t do something now, the effects of our warming climate, our plastic pollution crisis, and our lack of empathy for the world we inhabit - they will be irreversible. maker and photographer to her list within this context), she puts "a future for generations to come" at the top of her list. She also shares the dream of thousands to stop the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland, which she notes "will scar one of Australia's and the world's most incredible locations - The Great Barrier Reef". While Nicola acknowledges that she may not be an ordinary teen when it comes to her values and her commitment to the environmental cause, she says that is not her focus. "I feel that this is part of the problem … as soon as we remove ourselves from the 'whole', once we take each other out of the equation, that's when we develop a problem," she says. "Sure I do have other views from most other kids my age ... however I never separate myself in that context." There's no denying Nicola's passion and determination. While the environ- Alphington Grammar turned 30! Alphington Grammar was established by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria in 1989. Now, 30 years on, and the bilingual school is fast carving out a niche for itself as a progressive school with a strong educational focus and Greek identity. The independent co- educational secondary school celebrated its milestone year with events that demonstrate its strong community focus. The festivities to celebrate the school's anniversary embraced the school's motto that "every student matters and has vast opportunities to excel". mental situation around the globe is increasingly dire, hearing this one student speak about personal responsibility, and the importance of coming together, one can't help but feel hopeful about the next generation of decision-makers. "Change comes about only if we work together; it's about beginning with the grass roots. "I don't even have to state it, but if we don't do something now, the effects of our warming climate, our plastic pollution crisis, and our lack of empathy for the world we inhabit - they will be irreversible," she says. "I'm ambitious to be apart of this growing environmental awakening, it's a positive revolution into a more sustainable, loving and positive future. The earth needs everyone's help."
02 March 2019
16 March 2019